All-State Softball: Super Elite

Two of the best in the state and two of the top recruits in the nation for 2016 are Madilyn Nickles of Merced (left) and Mariah Lopez of Saugus. Photos: Twitter.com & insidescv.com.

Two of the best in the state and two of the top recruits in the nation for 2016 are Madilyn Nickles of Merced (left) and Mariah Lopez of Saugus. Photos: Twitter.com & insidescv.com.


It’s not the ESPYs, but 28 others have been chosen alongside Gatorade National Player of the Year Madilyn Nickles and Ms. Softball State Player of the Year Nicole Bates in being among this year’s All-State Super Elite first team. This is the 34th consecutive year of the Cal-Hi Sports all-state teams in softball and it’s another blockbuster group of top national recruits mixed with others who just had to be picked based on what they did during the high school season in 2016.

For the all-state second and third teams, CLICK HERE.
For the all-state underclass teams, CLICK HERE.
For the all-state small & medium school teams (Gold Club post), CLICK HERE.
For Gold Club post of our all-time all-state first team softball archive back to 1992 (with second team back to 2004), CLICK HERE.

Note: We’ll have an inside look at this year’s all-state softball teams after all of the teams are chosen, including names of players we really wanted to pick but couldn’t. That post plus more unique California high school sports content is for Gold Club members only. To join our team today, CLICK HERE.

Congratulations to these players who’ve been named first team overall for the 34th annual Cal-Hi Sports all-state softball honors program:

CATCHERS

Montana Dixon (Lakewood) Sr.
Named by the Long Beach Press-Telegram as its Dream Team Player of the Year, Dixon helped lead the Lancers to their fifth straight Moore League title before she heads to Stanford next year. Hitting .493 on the season, she also hit 11 home runs to finish her high school career as the school’s all-time career home run leader with 39. That total also gets her into the Cal-Hi Sports state record book. During her sophomore season, Dixon set the school’s all-time single season mark with 15 home runs.

Kelly Martinez (Yucaipa) Sr.
Shining offensively and defensively behind the plate, Martinez was named by the Riverside Press Enterprise to its All-Inland first team and called her one of the area’s best defensive catchers. Also named to the Citrus Belt League first team, this Utah-bound senior hit .398 with nine home runs and 35 runs batted in to lead the offense. A picture of her hugging pitcher Brooke Bolinger was the main photo last year when Yucaipa was named as our softball State Team of the Year.

Kelly Martinez was the catcher for last year's No. 1 team in the state and nation and will play next at Utah. Photo: Twitter.com.

Kelly Martinez was the catcher for last year’s No. 1 team in the state and nation and will play next at Utah. Photo: Twitter.com.


PITCHERS

Holly Azevedo (Pioneer, San Jose) Jr.
Last season’s State Sophomore of the Year had another impressive season and she was a finalist for Ms. Softball State Player of the Year. Azevedo also has been named by the San Jose Mercury News as its player of the year. Committed to UCLA, she went 25-3 with a 0.18 ERA while striking out 334 in 191 innings while also hitting .482. Despite capturing her second straight player of the year honor from the local paper, Pioneer once again came up short of a section championship which may have prevented her from even more honors this season.

Taylor Dockins (Norco) Jr.
She will have a chance to finish her high school career with 100 wins after she led the Inland Empire area with 26 wins in the circle and now has 75 career wins with a season still to come. Named the Big VIII League’s MVP and selected to the Riverside Press Enterprise first team, she also hit .359 with 26 runs batted in while finishing the season in the circle with a 1.51 ERA and 148 strikeouts. She has committed to Cal State Fullerton.

Mariah Lopez (Saugus) Sr.
Well-known on the summer travel ball circuit, Lopez has been one of the top ranked recruits nationally for the Class of 2016 for more than two years. Injuries have hurt her on the prep level, but she went out on a strong note for the Centurions. Competing in one of the best leagues in the nation, Lopez posted a 16-5 record in the circle with a 1.68 ERA and struck out 208 batters in 121 innings. She will play next at Oklahoma.

Alyssa Loza (North, Torrance) Sr.
The pitcher headed to Arizona State and ranked as the 23rd best recruit nationally among seniors by FloSoftball.com also has been picked for the PGF High School All-American Game coming up in two weeks in Irvine. Loza tossed a three-hitter when North blanked Torrance 5-0 in the CIFSS Division IV final and only allowed three runs in 35 playoff innings. For the season, Loza went 20-2 with a 1.06 ERA and had 209 strikeouts in 139 innings.

Natalie Lugo (South Hills, West Covina) Jr.
The San Gabriel Valley Tribune Player of the Year sparkled with a 0.62 ERA, struck out 279 batters in 159 innings and went 18-6 overall. Some of Lugo’s top outings actually came in losses to top teams, such as when she struck out 17 in a 1-0 loss in 10 innings to Valley View of Moreno Valley in the CIFSS D2 playoffs. Committed to the University of Florida for nearly two years, Lugo also had a playoff no-hitter vs. Pacifica of Oxnard and struck out 19 in a game twice.
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Melanie Olmos (Grand Terrace) Sr.
Chosen as the Riverside Press-Enterprise Player of the Year, Sunkist League Pitcher of the Year and a Ms. Softball State Player of the Year finalist, Olmos now adds all-state first team to her resume. The University of Oklahoma recruit allowed just three earned runs all season as she went 17-1 with a 0.22 ERA and had 152 strikeouts in 95 innings while also hitting .380 with 21 runs batted in. Olmos was also the winning pitcher when the Titans captured the CIFSS Division III championship and finished 28-1 on the year.

Gabby Sandoval (Mater Dei, Santa Ana) Sr.
Capturing their first CIFSS Division I championship since 1998, the Monarchs had this senior leading the way in the circle as she went 18-3 with a 1.75 ERA. Named by OC Sidelines as its Pitcher of the Year, Gabby had 100 strikeouts in 136 innings facing tough competition. During the postseason, she pitched three shutouts and allowed no earned runs in playoff wins against five league champions. She will be headed to play next season at Southern Oregon.

Danielle Williams (Amador Valley, Pleasanton) Soph.
Last year’s State Freshman of the year narrowly missed out on this year’s state sophomore honor but was an easy selection for our all-state first team. Some observers this season in Southern California said Williams was the best pitcher they saw all season long. Named by the East Bay Times to its first team and by the EBAL as its MVP, Williams went 14-2 with a 0.53 ERA while striking out 245 in 144 innings. For the season, she also hit .458 and pitched eight no-hitters.

INFIELD

Nicole Bates (Ceres) Sr.
Named as our Cal-Hi Sports Ms. Softball State Player of the Year, Nicole’s selection as a first team all-state player is not a surprising one. She hit .571 with 33 runs batted in and five home runs this season. For her career, she hit .512 with 205 career hits, 31 doubles, 22 triples and 171 runs scored which will have her name entering the state record book in multiple places. Headed to Washington, she led the Bulldogs to a section championship and became the first player from the Sac-Joaquin Section to win state player of the year honors since Katie Cotta of Linden in 2005.

Callee Heen batted more than .600 and hit 16 homers for team that won CIF Central Coast Section D1 title. Photo: GetSportsFocus.com.

Callee Heen batted more than .600 and hit 16 homers for team that won CIF Central Coast Section D1 title. Photo: GetSportsFocus.com.


MacKenzie Boesel (Lutheran, Orange) Sr.
While the Lancers came up one win shy of a CIFSS Division I championship, this senior infielder was one of the reasons they reached the finals as she hit .418 with 32 runs batted in. Setting the table as the leadoff hitter, Boesel also scored 35 runs and stole 11 bases while showing extra base power with 13 doubles, four triples and three home runs. Named to the OC Sidelines and OC Varsity first team, she will play next at South Carolina.

Mia Camuso (Shasta, Redding) Sr.
Last season’s State Junior of the Year had another standout season that will have her name all over the state record book for her career. Although she was legitimately beaten out as CIF Northern Section Player of the Year by Foothill junior Jessica Seely, Camuso didn’t slip as one of the state’s elite players. She hit .574 with 50 runs batted in, 49 runs scored and 14 home runs. In 136 games for her high school career, Camuso finished with a .595 batting average while hitting 42 home runs and driving in 162 runs. Committed to Oregon since she was a freshman, she will be headed to join the Ducks next season.

Jordan Fines (Sheldon, Sacramento) Sr.
Signed to play next season at UC-Berkeley, this smooth fielding standout helped the Huskies capture the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Division I championship and was named as a finalist for our Ms. Softball State Player of the Year award. Fines was also named by the Sacramento Bee as its co-player of the year along with her younger sister, Maci. We don’t do co-players of the year so we picked Jordan on the Super Elite first team whlle naming Maci on the All-State Underclass first gaem. Jordan hit .444 with 44 hits, 38 runs batted in, 12 doubles and 30 runs scored.

Jessie Harper (West Ranch, Valencia) Sr.
She’s had three very good seasons in a row for the Wildcats, who play in the ridiculously talented Foothill League. Harper, who has signed with Arizona (meaning she’ll stay a Wildcat), racked up a .405 batting aveage and had 11 homers and 36 RBI. She also scored 28 times, stole 10 bases and was dazzling on defense.

Callee Heen (San Benito, Hollister) Sr.
It’s a good thing that San Benito isn’t covered by the San Jose Mercury-News, otherwise Pioneer standout pitcher Holly Azevedo would have had some stiff competition for player of the year from Heen. A power-hitting first baseman/catcher who is headed to Hawaii, Heen belted 16 homers for a Haybaler team that won its third CIF Central Coast Section D1 title in four years. Heen also had a .609 batting average, scored 44 runs and had 48 RBI.

Kristina Inouye (Huntington Beach) Sr.
Named as the Oilers’ team MVP, she hit .406 with six home runs and 32 runs batted in. Inouye’s team also was ranked top 10 in the state at one point in the season. Excelling not only on the diamond but in the classroom as well with a 4.71 GPA, she will be headed to Stanford. Named to the first team by both OC Sidelines and OC Varsity, she was called by OC Varsity as “one of the area’s most well-rounded players.”

Malia Martinez (Poway) Sr.
It ended up being a year of parity among top teams in the CIF San Diego Section, but for player of the year Martinez was a solid choice. She was the pick by the section’s media panel on behalf of the San Diego Hall of Champions and is headed next to NCAA powerhouse Arizona. Martinez helped the Titans reach the SDS Open Division championship game. For the season, she hit over .500 and was the team’s leading run producer.

Priscilla Martinez (Mater Dei, Santa Ana) Sr.
Called by OC Sidelines the biggest offensive weapon in the Monarchs’ lineup during their CIFSS Division I championship season, she hit .462 with 11 doubles and 33 runs batted in. Also known for her defense behind the plate and at first base, she will be headed to George Washington. Both OC Sidelines and OC Varsity named her to their first teams but the clincher for Priscilla getting onto the all-state first team was her being named the CIFSS D1 Player of the Year.

We still have one more year with a Snow sister at Chino Hills. Taylon has committed to Auburn. How phenomenal is it that one school gets two families like the Snow sisters for softball and the Ball brothers for basketball? Photo: OCSidelines.com.

We still have one more year with a Snow sister at Chino Hills. Taylon has committed to Auburn. How phenomenal is it that one school gets two families like the Snow sisters for softball and the Ball brothers for basketball? Photo: OCSidelines.com.


Madilyn Nickles (Merced) Sr.
Named by Gatorade as its National Player of the Year, she narrowly missed out on taking home our Ms. Softball State Player of the Year award as well as the Modesto Bee’s top honor in favor of Ceres standout Nicole Bates. Nickles, who attended the ESPY Awards this week in Los Angeles, also was named as our large schools state player of the year before she heads off to UCLA. For the season, she went 19-5 with a 0.50 ERA while striking out 308 in 167.1 innings. Nickles also hit .552 with 27 runs batted in and eight home runs. For her career, she finished with 67 wins in the circle with a 1.05 ERA, 809 strikeouts, 11 no-hitters and one perfect game.

Briana Perez (Alhambra, Martinez) Jr.
Striking out just twice all season long during the Bulldogs’ run to the CIF North Coast Section Division II championship, Perez hit .613 with 40 runs batted in. Named to the East Bay Times first team, she also hit six doubles, six triples and six home runs while stealing 21 bases and only making three errors all season. She has been a long time commit to UCLA, which is where her sister, Kylee, is currently playing.

Karlee Sparacino (Alhambra, Martinez) Jr.
The other half of the impressive tandem in the middle of the infield during the Bulldogs’ CIF NCS Division II championship season, Sparacino hit .620 with seven home runs and 57 runs batted in. Also named as a finalist for our Ms. Softball State Player of the Year and a first team selection by the East Bay Times, she is committed to play at Oregon but still has one more season with the Bulldogs before she becomes Pac-12 rivals with teammate Briana Perez.

Taylon Snow (Chino Hills) Jr.
She just made news in the college softball world by committing to Auburn where she’ll be joined by older sister Tannon, last year’s Ms. Softball Player of the Year finalist, who is transferring from Washington. Taylon still has one year to go at Chino Hills, however, where she’ll improve on career totals so far of 177 hits, 102 RBI, 17 homers and 108 runs scored with a .504 average. Snow was ranked as the No. 1 recruit among juniors in the nation by FloSoftball.com. Interestlngly, however, we couldn’t consider her as the No. 1 player out of the Baseline League in 2016 since Etiwanda’s Vanessa Taukeiaho is from the same league.

Vanessa Taukeiaho (Etiwanda) Sr.
Putting the hurt on the softball all season long, Taukeiaho led the state in home runs with 20 while hitting .640 and driving in 56 runs. Headed to Oklahoma, she was a Ms. Softball State Player of the Year finalist and her career totals will have her listed in the state record book in multiple places, including 37 home runs, 169 hits and 35 doubles. She was also named as the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin Player of the Year.

OUTFIELD

Aniesa Maulupe (Carson) Sr.
The Colts have had a prolific slugger almost every year in recent years and Maulupe certainly filled the bill in 2016. Chosen as the CIF L.A. City Section Division I Player of the Year and headed to Long Beach State, Maulupe led Carson with a .692 batting average with 10 homers and 35 RBI. She also had 13 homers as a sophomore with nine last year and a career total of 39 (good enough for state record book). Maulupe’s career batting average of .553 with 187 hits, 161 RBI and 35 doubles also stand out.

Megan Stevens wasn't No. 1 in the pecking order of top honors candidates at Etiwanda, but her efforts during the 2016 season were deemed first team all-state worthy. Photo: sbsun.com.

Megan Stevens wasn’t No. 1 in the pecking order of top honors candidates at Etiwanda, but her efforts during the 2016 season were deemed first team all-state worthy. Photo: sbsun.com.


Megan Stevens (Etiwanda) Sr.
You didn’t have to look far to find a rival to Etiwanda’s Vanessa Taukeiaho for the state home run lead. Stevens was right behind her teammate with 19 homers and also had the kind of career that made it possible to pick her for first team all-state as well. Stevens, who will play next at D1 Grand Canyon University, also had 62 hits, a .614 average, 56 runs and 49 RBI to go with her 19 homers. She and Taukeiaho led Etiwanda to the top seed in the CIFSS D1 playoffs. For her career, Stevens batted .459 in 107 games with 38 homers and 135 RBI.

Camryn Ybarra (Mission Viejo) Jr.
While she didn’t capture our overall Ms. Softball State Player of the Year honor, she was a finalist and beat out Holly Azevedo for our State Junior of the Year honor. It helped that the Diablos captured their seventh straight South Coast League championship, the CIFSS D2 title and were State Team of the Year. Committed to Oregon State, Ybarra hit .514 with 12 home runs and 30 runs batted in to earn player of the year honors from both OCSidelines and the Orange County Register.

MULTI-PURPOSE

Maddy Dwyer (Lutheran, Orange) Jr.
OC Varsity’s Pitcher of the Year went 26-3 with a 1.10 ERA and had 173 strikeouts in 178.2 innings as the Lancers reached the CIFSS Division I championship game for the first time since 2002. Named the MVP at both the Brea Olinda Tournament and the Saddleback Valley Tournament, Dwyer pitched a perfect game against state-ranked Amador Valley. Committed to Stanford, she also hit .277 with two home runs and 18 runs batted. She was also named to the first team by OC Sidelines.

Jessica Seely (Foothill, Palo Cedro) Jr.
It would have been hard for her to do much more in the circle or at the plate this season for the Cougars, who went 29-1 and captured the CIF Northern Section Division III championship with her leading the way. Named as one of our Ms. Softball State Player of the Year finalists, Seely hit .510 with eight home runs and 42 runs batted in while going 24-1 with a 0.31 ERA and 242 strikeouts while walking just 18. She will be headed to play in college at Sacramento State.

Vanessa Strong (Freedom, Oakley) Soph.
Her performance not only in the circle in a crucial game but her performance all season long at the plate is what gave Strong the nod to being named as our State Sophomore of the Year, which made her lock for the Super Elite top 30. In the circle, she was 17-3 with a 1.71 ERA and 176 strikeouts and led the Falcons to a CIF NCS Division I championship. Strong also batted .413 and has been named by the East Bay Times as its softball Player of the Year.

Special thanks to Stockton office assistant editor Paul Muyskens for doing many of the writeups. Mark Tennis is the co-founder and publisher of CalHiSports.com. He can be reached at markjtennis@gmail.com. Don’t forget to follow Mark on the Cal-Hi Sports Twitter handle: @CalHiSports


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3 Comments

  1. Petra
    Posted July 15, 2016 at 7:18 am | Permalink

    Tannon Snow -Taylon Snow sister was Named MaxPrep player of the year NOT Ms Softball Player of the year! That went to Taylor Mc Quillin last year !

    • Mark Tennis
      Posted July 15, 2016 at 10:52 am | Permalink

      Doesn’t say that Tannon was Ms. Softball, only that she was a finalist. Very glad to have Taylor and team represented on that State Player of the Year list.

  2. Posted August 3, 2016 at 10:18 pm | Permalink

    Gambrell, a senior pitcher and first baseman selected as a multipurpose player and Fraizer, a senior outfielder, were the only Central Section players chosen to the 30-member team.

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